Roughly 55,000 people query Google every single second. Through its many businesses, Google makes nearly $60 million every day and, even in the world of big tech, few companies are as big. The company’s colorful logo is one of the most-seen things on the internet, and its search engine directs millions upon millions of internet users to the places that they want to go online.
This has huge implications for small businesses. From the start, it was clear that search engines like Google had the power to direct customers to, or away from, businesses like Amazon. In time, Google’s mastery of local search functions and the increasing ubiquity of smartphones and other mobile devices have made it equally clear that small, local businesses like yours can no longer afford to ignore Google than Amazon can.
Given the tough paths local businesses have to chart these days, you may be able to afford it less than Amazon can. Today, small business owners simply must invest in search engine optimization.
What is SEO and why does it matter?
Google directs a lot of internet traffic, but it doesn’t exactly force customers to click on certain websites. Google simply provides a list of relevant websites to each query. Searchers overwhelmingly click on links that are on the very first page of results — especially the ones at the top.
The implication is obvious: The better your business ranks with relevant Google queries, the more customers you’ll attract. That, in turn, means that you want your business’ online presence to be as appealing as possible to Google’s secret algorithm. The process of making it so is called search engine optimization, or “SEO.”
A lot goes into SEO. Links loom large: Google’s “web crawlers” or “search engine spiders,” as its web-cataloguing programs are variously called, use links to get around the web and also record information about those them (such as the perceived authority of the site linking to your site and the text that makes up the link).
More links are generally good, though links from lousy, low-quality sites can be bad. Then there’s the text of your site, which should include the right “keywords” and “keyword phrases” — text that lines up with what consumers will query on Google — in the proper density (again, too much can be a bad thing and it’s also bad to use irrelevant keywords).
SEO also involves properties like meta tags and coded HTML commands directed at search engine spiders. Put it all together, and you get websites that rise up Google’s rankings and attract more new and returning customers.
How to get SEO done right for your business
SEO isn’t a simple thing. It’s something that small business owners can understand; as we laid out above, there are some concepts at the heart of SEO that are pretty straightforward. But, just like your own work, this stuff gets tricky when you start to dive into the details. Google’s top-secret algorithm can change, making great SEO a moving target. Nailing every aspect involves A/B testing and wading through HTML code. And, ideally, your SEO solution should be an integrated part of a larger digital marketing strategy.
What all this means in practice is that you should be looking at outsourcing SEO. It’s simply not a good idea to try to DIY your way to a good SEO solution. It’s also not worth the expense to hire employees to manage your SEO needs full-time. The best option for small businesses is virtually always to choose a managed SEO plan from digital marketing experts.
With SEO pros in your corner, you can get back to doing what your business does best. You’ll be able to focus on the daily tasks and long-term goals that your business is all about, confident that the pros you hired will take care of your business’ SEO and digital marketing needs for you.